Jobseekers are turned off by jargon

UK jobseekers have no time to be ‘laser-focused’ nor have any desire to be a ‘ninja’ according to a new study of job adverts. In fact, buzz-phrases and mind-boggling jargon in job posts is so off-putting that half of budding job-seekers (50%) would be put off applying entirely.

Whether you’ve done some ’blue-sky thinking’ about getting that ’low-hanging fruit’ or are ready to ‘hit the ground running’ with an ‘idea shower’, Britain’s job hunters are increasingly baffled by job ads. The problem isn’t limited to terminology and abbreviations; research by graduate jobs specialist Milkround revealed the public find job titles equally confusing, with ambiguous labels like ‘New Media Czar’, ’Coordinator of Interpretive Teaching’ and ‘Conversation Architect’.

Off-putting jargon

If the nation is confused, it’s no wonder that grads are struggling. According to Milkround, those dipping their toes in the jobs market for the first time are having issues navigating industry language with complex wording in job ads leaving them confused and under-prepared. Thanks to such jargon jousting, nearly half (48%) of graduates admit to turning up to an interview still unsure as to what the role even entails.

A call for clarity

Three quarters (75%) of graduates want adverts to be written in plain English, while 55% feel stressed by the job application process.

Whilst companies may think adverts which are riddled with technical jargon, buzz-words and abbreviations attract the best candidates, three quarters (77%) of graduates think that job adverts can be deliberately ambiguous while three in five (59%) said that not understanding these terms would prevent them from applying in the first place.

Six in 10 (64%) of graduates inevitably feel they can’t apply for a role if they don’t understand the job description and 71% claim that business acronyms in ads such as ‘SLA’, ‘DOE’, ‘POC’ and ‘B2B’* leave them feeling underqualified.

More experienced UK adults are equally baffled with nearly two in three (68%) saying they would prefer if job ads were simplified, proving it isn’t just recent graduates at a loss when it comes to deciphering job ad jargon.

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Most misunderstood job jargon amongst graduates:

·         Open the kimono (82%) of grads who have not heard the term

·         Cloud-first (76%)

·         Growth hacking (73%)

·         Blue-sky thinking (67%)

·         Thought shower (64%)

·         Brand architecture (61%)

·         Low-hanging fruit (64%)

The graduate gender divide

Whilst both males and females are calling for clarity, the gender divide shows a marked difference in ad preferences and what terms graduate job hunters are comfortable with. Whilst men are slightly more comfortable with acronyms and terms with a definitive, translatable meaning such as FTC, CRM and KPI: 61% of men claim to not understand business acronyms versus nearly three quarters of women (74%) who are confused. Overall, women are consistently less likely to have heard of acronyms & business terms with three quarters (74%) claiming that not understanding acronyms makes them feel under-qualified for the role (versus 61% of men). Three quarters (77%) of women would lack confidence in applying for a role at all compared to 65% of men.

Meanwhile, women find descriptive jargon less off-putting than their male counterparts showing they are more comfortable with phrases which are open to interpretation and often hold no definitive meaning such as ‘action-orientated’ and ‘ninja’. Four in 10 (42%) of men claim to find jargon confusing, compared to only 26% of women.

Milkround worked with language expert, Steven Poole, to conduct the research; he says: “Research has long shown that business jargon makes people feel oppressed in the workplace, but the news from increasingly jargon-infested recruitment advertising is even worse: this new data shows that companies using jargon in their job ads are actually preventing candidates from even going for a role — and so pushing talent away. For the sake of both employees and employers, it’s time to cancel the buzz words and try saying what we really mean.”

Most off-putting candidate descriptions:

·         Ninja

·         Laser-focused

·         Self-starter

·         Entrepreneurial mindset

·         Action-orientated

·         Hit the ground running

·         Proven track record

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